MOSCOW, January 16 (Itar-Tass) — The rating of RF presidential candidate Vladimir Putin, according to data of the VCIOM Russian Public Opinion Research Centre, considerably improved in January. It appears that the mass December meetings paradoxically resulted in the growth in the politician's popularity, despite the fact that speakers in Bolotnaya Square and in Sakharov Avenue urged the people not to vote for him in any case. In the view of experts interviewed by Nezavisimaya Gazeta, the public opinion is being prepared for Putin's victory in the first round of the presidential election. However, such strategy of the campaign may not justify itself.
Supposing the election is held next Sunday, then, in the view of specialists of the Russian Public Opinion Research Centre, presidential candidate Vladimir Putin would score 48 percent of the vote. The prime minister's rivals would be far behind: the electoral rating of CPRF leader Gennady Zyuganov is 10 percent, LDPR head Vladimir Zhirinovsky - 9 percent, chairman of A Just Russia Sergei Mironov - 5 percent. Within the statistical error margin the rating of Grigory Yavlinsky is 2 percent and the rating of billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov - 3 percent. Alexei Navalny, Dmitry Rogozin, Yuri Shevchuk and Boris Nemtsov have zero rating. Recall that the main candidate will have to score 50 percent plus one vote in order to avoid the second round. If the VCIOM graph’s curve continues its gradual rise, then the rating of candidate Putin will overcome the psychological barrier in a couple of weeks, as already in late December the prime minister’s rating was 45 percent. In this case Putin will not have to compete with the rivals who in the second round may get support from the electorate of the dropout candidates. That was the aim behind the replacement of first deputy head of the presidential administration Vladislav Surkov with Vyacheslav Volodin, in the view of director of the Institute of Globalisation Problems Mikhail Delyagin: “On the one hand, Surkov is regarded in Putin’s camp as a man who in a critical situation defected to Medvedev, that is, did not display his personal fidelity to him, and this is a key characteristic for the future president,” Delyagin explained. “On the other, Surkov was in favour of softer methods that in a revolutionary situation do not work.” In the view of the expert, “Volodin who pledges that Vladimir Putin can well win in the first round, is more needed now.”